With the latest Windows 11 update, which is now available for
everyone as a mandatory security update, changing the system’s
default browser is now easier than ever. The company has rolled
back a controversial change pushed out with Windows 11 in June
2021, a move that caused frustration among users of Chrome and
Since Windows 11 went live last year, Microsoft has been
criticized for forcing users to manually register a third-party
browser like Firefox for each and every web protocol and known
file extensions. This made it harder to easily switch between
third-party browsers as you would need to change the default
browser for all available options.
In other words, users were required to manually registry Chrome
or Firefox preference for web protocols like HTTP or HTTPs and
popular web file extensions like .HTML, .HTM so forth. While it
was still possible to entirely switch to a third-party browser,
Microsoft deliberately made it harder to flip the switch.
To Microsoft’s credit, the company is at least paying attention
to the criticism and they have rolled back the complicated
default browser settings with
April 2022 cumulative updates.
Windows 11 KB5012592, you can now easily switch
between Microsoft Edge and other browsers with a single click.
As you can see in the above screenshot, there’s a new option
that lets you change the default browser for all known web
protocols and file extensions.
Mozilla welcomes Microsoft’s decision, but more can be done
In a statement, Mozilla told us that these changes improve the
default browser setting experience and Microsoft is heading in
the right direction, but “more can be done to respect default
browser choice” on Windows.
For those unaware, Windows 11 doesn’t respect the default
browser choice for all links in the OS. At the moment, the
company pushes all links within its own products like Start
Menu and Widgets panel into Microosft Edge, so your default
browser choice is ignored unless you use third-party apps to
bypass the redirects.
“People should have the ability to simply and easily set
defaults and all operating systems should offer official
developer support for default status,” a Mozilla spokesperson
told us in a statement.
Mozilla wants Microsoft to honour the user’s default browser
preference everywhere and reduce the number of steps required
to set browsers like Firefox as default.
The organization also wants Microsoft to make Edge APIs
available for the rest of the browsers so they can be used to
improve integration with other Microsoft apps.